Grant Writing Advice and Tips: The Grant Helpers Blog

Grant Ideas for Educators - Part 2: Finding Support for Your Project

Posted by Tammi Hughes on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 @ 09:06 AM

In our blog article from two weeks ago, we discussed strategies for making your educational grant more fundable. This week’s blog discusses finding a variety of funding avenues to help successfully support your educational project.

Funding Avenues for Schools

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Since we’re a grant helping company, grant funding is an obvious source of financial support. We’re aware that depending on the project, proposal development can present challenges and take a chunk of resources to prepare a competitive proposal. Many funding agencies are experiencing the same cuts schools are, and finding specific grants that are well-suited to specific projects (and in specific geographical areas, etc.) can be difficult. The application process itself can be extensive, particular, and time consuming. We can help with all of steps of this process.  Even with our help, though, our interactive approach still requires an investment of time to plan and present a strong project for funding.

Websites for School Funding

Websites such as DonorsChooseGoFundMe, and others are very popular for educational projects. A simple visit to their websites will show many of the projects they assist in funding. Be sure to read the fine print. For some of these websites, you must give a percentage of the cost of the project back to the site for successful funding of your project. Additionally, most of the time, your project is only funded if it raises the full level of support needed. (You do not keep the portion you raised if you did not meet 100% of your goal.)

Horace Mann Educators Corporation

Horace Mann is a corporation started originally by teachers and for teachers. It focuses on providing teachers with affordable insurance, among other services. One of those services includes helping teachers find funding for the projects they want to execute in their classrooms. Consider contacting your local Horace Mann agent for information on how he or she can assist you in setting up a funding plan for your next project.

Community Support

Community support gets called upon frequently, but if you live in a generous and supportive community, or even if you don’t, consider reaching out to community businesses and services that pair well with your project. For example, maybe a local business would be willing to partially fund a new business development program at your school. You might even offer naming the program or project after the business(es) that support your project and installing a plaque or banner on something more concrete in their honor.


Despite our “Grant Helpers” name, we have helped many clients with multiple types of fundraising.  Contact us to brainstorm ideas at no charge.

Photo credit: Tracy Lawson

Topics: STEM Education, art education, Education grants for Native Americans, art education grant, art grant art education grant, corporate grant for education, early childhood education, education, education funding, education funds, education grant, education grants, education resources, educational funding, educational grants

Grant Ideas for Educators - Part I: Planning for Fundability

Posted by Tammi Hughes on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 @ 10:06 AM

Finding Grants and Other Funds for Education

Summer is upon us, and for many educators school is out for the summer. While summer provides a nice break from the classroom and the routine of plan, teach, and grade, it can also serve as a fantastic opportunity for educators to put their energy into planning for projects or future needs and wants of their schools.2447140827_d0a7e12413_z.jpg

Planning for projects, wants, and needs is one thing. Finding funding in today’s world of budget cuts is a different story. Educators need to keep some core principals in mind and consider multiple methods and avenues of funding. Below are some approaches that we encourage you to keep in mind. Please feel free to contact us if you need additional assistance in developing funding strategies, finding sources, applying for funding, or executing awards.

Strategies for Grant Programs to Propose

1. Consider reach. Most funders want their money to reach as many students as possible, so think of ways your idea could help large numbers of students. For example, a technology cart for a specific classroom teacher will reach only that teacher’s students, whereas one that is utilized by an entire department will likely impact a greater number of students.

2. Consider sustainability. As with “reach,” greater sustainability usually means higher odds of funding. How long will your project sustain itself once funded? For example, that same technology cart might be used across several departments and might include technology that will be available for at least five years into the future. That’s a lot of student reach over time! As a counter-example, funding for a field trip is more short-lived, and while it has an impact on those involved, it is not a sustainable project and has less reach.

3. Consider educational “hot topics.” Movements like STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) get a lot of attention in the educational world right now. How might your project incorporate these areas? For example, if an English teacher wants funding for a writing lab, he or she might be more fundable by considering a writing across the curriculum initiative that invites the mathematics and science departments in writing assignments, research, etc.

4. Consider matching grants. Many funders feel more confident in awarding funding if they know that their efforts are being matched. Perhaps you are looking for $5,000 for a project, but you're aware the funding agency usually awards a maximum of $2,500. Finding additional funding, either through local donors, the school’s budget, or another grant, that will match that amount might give you the edge over someone who does not have matching support. Many funders allow for in-kind matches such as parent volunteer time, use of facilities, and transportation—resources already in use that can be assigned a dollar value.

Finding a potential funding source goes hand-in-hand with identifying fundable programs. In next week’s blog we’ll talk about some potential funding avenues.

Meantime, feel free to contact us with any questions about your search for funding.

Photo credit: Patrick Q

Topics: STEM Education, art education, Education grants for Native Americans, art education grant, art grant art education grant, corporate grant for education, early childhood education, education, education funding, education funds, education grant, education grants, education resources, educational funding, educational grants

Grants to Fund Summer Youth Programs

Posted by Mary Ross on Mon, Apr 27, 2015 @ 11:04 AM

Summer school, summer camp, summer programs? What summer situation are you in need of funding? With the school year coming to a rapid end, many parents are looking for activities to keep their kids busy for the summer months, and many foundations are looking to support SummerProgram resized 600organizations that can make this happen.  Time is running out on getting grant funding for this summer, so here is a sampling of the grants you should know about.

 

State Farm Youth Advisory Board: Service-Learning Grants 

State Farm is accepting applications now through May 1st for grants of $25,000 to $100,000 that address one of its chosen key areas.  Access to higher education/closing the achievement gap, environmental responsibility, and arts and culture and just a few of these areas. If your summer program helps struggling students, or is centered on the environment or the arts, give these categories a look.  Each of these is described on the website, and an online application is available now.

 

The American Honda Foundation

Awarding grants of $25,000 to $75,000 at a time, the American Honda Foundation is accepting online applications from non-profit groups and schools. Generally concerned with STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) subjects, Honda is specifically looking to fund programs “which are characterized by the following qualities: imaginative, creative, youthful, forward-thinking, scientific, humanistic and innovative.” Organizations can submit applications at any time, but only one application can be submitted per 12-month period. This is a national program hoping to achieve long-term benefits.    

 

The Mitsubishi Electric American Foundation

Will your organization’s summer work have a national impact? Look into an MEAF grant.  The Mitsubishi Electric American Foundation is accepting applications until June 1st.  MEAF prefers to support programs that teach leadership skills and help youth with disabilities. Six to 12 grants of $10,000 to $75,000 are given a year.  "EcoChanges," a program that gives youth with disabilities the chance to participate in outdoor activities, is one that MEAF has funded in the past.  Take the “grant eligibility quiz” on the website to see if your organization should apply.

 

The Captain Planet Foundation 

The Captain Plant Foundation funds as many small project grants, between $500 and $2,500, as its yearly resources allow.  With rolling deadlines throughout the year, Captain Planet grants are awarded to schools and non-profit organizations for student-led, project-based environmental programs. Organizations can apply online now. Captain Planet funds projects that get kids involved in protecting the earth and using its resources.  In addition to supporting garden programs, The Captain Planet Foundation even puts on its own Earth Day Celebration for kids in its local area of Atlanta.

 

Where will your organization get its funding this summer? If you’d like to know about more grant opportunities and get help finding grants specifically tailored to your group, contact TheGrantHelpers.com. We have the resources you need, and the first consultation is always free.  

 

Photo Credit Camp PinewoodBy: Camp Pinewood

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STEM Funding Heats Up and Changes State: STEAM Funding

Posted by Alisyn Franzen on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 @ 15:04 PM

STEM STEAM GrantsThe acronym “STEM” (science, technology, engineering, & mathematics), one of the past decade’s most prominent educational buzzwords, is quickly becoming out-of-date. Taking its place on the podium, is the successor term “STEAM” (science, technology, engineering, arts, & mathematics). The argument for the integration of arts into the STEM curriculum is based on evidence that children learn in a variety of ways and need to develop art and design capabilities in order to create new technologies and make new discoveries. 

In this article, TheGrantHelpers.com provides resources and information that justify the integration of arts into the STEM curriculum. These resources can bolster a grant application for STEAM. In addition, there are funding agencies and websites related to grants awards for STEAM eduction, research, and development.

 

Resources and References

In the top TED talk of all time, Sir Ken Robinson’s “How Schools Kill Creativity,” Sir Robinson discusses the fact that children are born artists but are being educated out of their capacities to stay artists. He explains that schools all over the world have a curricular hierarchy that places subjects like mathematics at the top and arts at the bottom, and he adds that degrees today are not worth anything. Whereas degrees in prior decades made a big difference in the job market, today’s citizens who have earned degrees are still headed home, unable to get a job. Creativity, he says, adds value to the degree.

In “Full STEAM Ahead: Arts, STEM and 21st Century Learning,” Doug Haller discusses various research projects being conducted that link how the brain works and how research findings apply to the integration of arts into the STEM fields.

Even lawmakers have caught on, as pending legislation to add the arts to STEM to make “STEAM” gains traction—in both government as well as research circles. House Resolution 319, introduced by Representative Jim Langevin (D-RI), “expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that adding art and design into federal programs that target Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) fields, encourages innovation and economic growth in the United States.”

Because of the movement encouraging arts integration into the STEM curriculum, the National Science Foundation (NSF) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) are both exploring the intersection of art and science through various workshops and events. You can read more about this in “Bridging STEM to STEAM: Developing New Frameworks for Art-Science-Design Pedagogy.”

There have been several case studies conducted on the integration of art into the STEM curriculum. One, by stemtosteam.org, which is founded by the Rhode Island School of Design, focuses on Sesame Street’s intentions to integrate arts into its STEM focus by introducing a segment called “Elmo the Musical,” in which Elmo uses dances and sings as he uses his imagination to navigate through STEM concepts. Sesame Street plans to continue its use of STEAM-based learning by offering learning tools and games on its website.

 

Examples of Grants

To see examples of grants that have been awarded for STEAM research and development, such as the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, you may wish to visit Education Week’s article “STEAM: Experts Make Case for Adding Arts to STEM.”

 

Examples of Funding Agencies

Federal agencies funding STEAM include the following:

  • National Science Foundation
  • National Endowment for the Arts
  • US Department of Education
  • US Department of Agriculture (HSI Education Grants Program)

A few of the many major Foundations that have recently funded STEAM education initiatives include:

  • AT&T Foundation
  • MacArthur Foundation
  • American Honda Foundation
  • Silicon Valley Community Foundation
  • The Abell Foundation

There are plenty of resources, studies, and ideas about students’ learning and how the arts can have a positive effect on the STEM curriculum. TheGrantHelpers.com is here to help you find the funding you need to incorporate arts into your own STEM curriculum in order to give today’s students the tools and instruction they need to be creative innovators of the future.

 

Image credit: aussiegall

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